In its coverage yesterday of House Speaker Terrance Carroll’s draft plan to modernize election registration rules, The Denver Post stated that “Capitol Republicans have cast the legislation as an attempt by Democrats to skew elections in their favor, and one that could endanger the integrity of elections.”
The Post should take a look at the provisions of the draft bill and report whether, in fact, they would do this.
One provision, same-day registration, doesn’t favor Democrats or Republicans, according to Curtis Gans, Director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University in Washington D.C.
Gans was quoted yesterday by Post columnist Vincent Carroll, who mocked attempts by liberals to expand voting opportunities as ineffective and inviting fraud. But Carroll did not argue that the draft election registration reforms would benefit Democrats over Republicans, as you might expect, given the initial partisan rhetoric that emerged Tuesday. http://www.denverpost.com/carroll/ci_14832170
Vincent Carroll quoted Gans as stating that high voter turnout (as opposed to same-day registration, specifically) hasn’t helped Democrats more than Republicans and that same-day registration, specifically, increases voter turnout only marginally.
I called Gans today and asked him if he believes same-day registration, specifically, benefits Democrats or Republicans, because this wasn’t clear from reading Carroll’s column.
“I think it’s not predictable at all,” he answered. “We have been shown that it’s not predictable one way or the other. There’s plenty of evidence.”
He added: “So long as a state does not have a history or likelihood of abuse of the registration system…- fraudulent registration, voting in the name of dead people, that sort of thing…-there is no harm and maybe a little good that can come out of election-day registration.”
Colorado has no such history of election fraud, as far as I could find.
I asked Gans, “What’s the little good that can come of same-day registration?”
“The good part is, that if people get interested in the election closer to the election, they don’t have to sit it out because they’re not registered,” he told me. “That’s the good part. It enhances the opportunity to vote.”
If Gans is correct, the election-day-registration component of Terrance Carroll’s draft bill is not the reason Republicans are telling The Post that they think Carroll’s plan is an “attempt to skew elections” in the Democrats’ favor.
As Carroll’s plan is debated, The Post should explain why Republicans think elements of initial draft bill are unfair or inviting fraud and offer different views about whether Republican objections are reasonable. This would be a useful addition to the debate.